Driving: the great equalizer
Mark Tucker last edited by
Today on my way home, I was stuck in traffic. Not bad stop-and-go traffic, more like the kind where you speed up to 45-50, then slow back down to 25, then repeat. It never seems to try to lane-hop in those situations, because you always choose the wrong one, or can't get over when you need to, so I usually just choose a lane and stick to it. And it seems a lot of other people do, too.
For quite a long time, I was keeping pace with a black Tesla Model 3. He was one lane over, and when my lane sped up, his wold slow down, and vice versa, so we passed by each other a dozen times over the course of six of seven miles. Every time his lane would speed up, he'd punch it and run right up behind the cars in front of him, so someitmes it would be a minute or so before I saw him again. Eventually, he got away, because I got stuck behind a truck. But then, when I got off my exit, there he was, waiting at the stop light.
And it occurred to me: we went the exact same average speed, because here we are both stopped at the same place.
That's kind of remarkable, if you think about it. Here's someone in a brand-new car, with all the horsepower you could possibly want, chock-full of the latest and greatest techno-wizardry, and some working-class stiff in a beat-up old Toyota ends up going exactly the same speed. My car cost about as much as a payment or two on his, but here we are, on the same road, with the same rights to use that road, averaging the same speed over a distance of several miles.
So what, then, exactly, did he get for spending fifty times as much as I did? Power? Well, that doesn't matter, because he wasn't able to get away from me. Comfort? Maybe a little, but my little Toyota isn't really uncomfortable; it has decent seats and good HVAC and a reasonably OK stereo. Safety? Yeah, maybe, but while his car might do more to protect him, mine forces me to pay closer attention and protect myself. Prestige? Whatever. I'm not trying to impress anyone.
I just find it fascinating, and wonderful, that all it takes is a license and a registered vehicle to gain access to any public road there is. You can spend less than $1000 on an old beater like I did, or $50,000 on a new Tesla like he did, or millions on a vintage Ferrari, and it just doesn't matter, because they can all drive on the same roads.
And that's democracy in action. And it's just another thing I love about cars.
spacekraken last edited by
@mark-tucker This is why I maintain that on a sunny day at least, the best city car (in Portland specifically haha) is a solidly geared bike or e-bike. Nothing is more fun that going stoplight to stoplight on surface streets and ending up ahead of the line of cars cause you start each green light at the front of the line in the bike lane
BritsnSwedes was MINIGTI last edited by
@mark-tucker it really is amazing how little difference ones driving makes in the arrival time. It’s about a 10 minute drive on crowded 3-land main road from the expressway to my house. I’ve many times thought I was all clever being in the correct lane, getting around turners and slowpokes. Only to see the slowpoke I passed way back by the expressway go by as I turn off.
I try to be careful and courteous but I do plenty of going around people, and yet hardly get there any sooner. And I can totally keep up with people who drove like assholes too.
smobgirl last edited by
I’ve told this story before, but I was running errands at lunch once and ended up headed back towards the office in relatively heavy traffic that included me (Abarth), a Golf R, something else (WRX?) and a GT-R. We were making similar good choices with lane choices - not weaving, but reading traffic to where we were avoiding heavier and less motivated vehicles so we kept encountering each other. I had the cheapest/slowest car of the bunch but was included with the “big boys” helping each other with traffic gaps, etc. (I want to clarify - none of us knew each other, and this absolutely wasn’t racing, just a mutual respect for people actually paying attention on the road). This went on for 10 miles as our gang slowly dwindled and by the end it was just me and the GT-R. We were stopped next to each other at a light when it was his time to turn and he revved his engine, gave a friendly wave, and drove off, never to be seen again. It was the dumbest little chance encounter but it was such a warm fuzzy feeling to be acknowledged for being a fellow enthusiast even with such a drastic price difference.
derp last edited by
I don't know who dislikes Abarths no matter what they drive. They're hilarious little angerboxes that make the best noises.
Urambo Tauro last edited by Urambo Tauro
DrivingTraffic: the great equalizer